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INFM 700 Course Review Paul Jacobs The iSchool University of Maryland May 2, 2012 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share.

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Presentation on theme: "INFM 700 Course Review Paul Jacobs The iSchool University of Maryland May 2, 2012 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share."— Presentation transcript:

1 INFM 700 Course Review Paul Jacobs The iSchool University of Maryland May 2, 2012 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States See for details

2 iSchool Today’s Topics Course outline Review of highlights and tricky issues Ground rules for exam Q & A

3 iSchool Course Outline Introduction Principles, organization and navigation (M&R chs. 1-7) (2 sessions) Techniques and technology (M&R chs. 10-12 plus case studies) (2 sessions) Taxonomies and metadata (M&R ch. 9) Search (M&R ch. 8, Manning chs.) (2 sessions) Software and business issues (Lenoir talk, one other session, case studies & examples)

4 iSchool Information Architecture What is it? (for starters) Architecture – structural design [of web sites] to support function and form Information – organized [electronic] content So our goal is to master the design of web sites for organizations that effectively deliver information to their users Consider: the information ecology (users, context, content) Goals; signs of good and bad architecture Basic skills and techniques for achieving goals

5 iSchool The IA Circles (“Ecology”) from M&R, p. 25 Context ContentUsers

6 iSchool The Process Understand user and system requirements Design (and build) organization, navigation, and metadata systems Evaluate the user experience Figure out what’s needed Design itBuild it Figure out if it works (compare with physical architects)

7 iSchool Users and Methods Users are tough, fickle, inarticulate, lying, complaining, ignorant, obtuse, inconsistent, … …but user experience is still our main measure of success So what do we do? Use varying strategies/components Apply “90-10” or “80-20” rules (you can’t please everyone) Accommodate variability in our measurements/design

8 iSchool Information Architecture Components Organization systems “How we categorize information” Labeling systems “How we represent information” Navigation systems “How we browse or move through information” Searching systems “How we search information” from M&R, pp. 49-52 Loosely, “structured” Loosely, “unstructured”

9 iSchool Architecture Components (examples) Major organization systems (e.g., by topic, task, community, chronology, …) Major navigation systems (e.g., navigation bars, breadcrumbs, top-level links) Local navigation systems “Contextual” navigation systems Indices and guides (e.g., sitemap, table of contents, site guide) Search Invisible components from M&R, pp. 49-52

10 iSchool Organization Systems Hierarchical organization What is a hierarchy? Why organize hierarchically Shallow and broad vs. deep and narrow (why the tradeoff, where is the optimum) Relation to navigation, layout, blueprints

11 iSchool Navigation Systems Global Shown everywhere Tells the user “what’s important” Local Shown in specific parts of the site Tells the user “what’s nearby” Contextual Shown only in specific situations Tells the user “what’s related”

12 iSchool Research & Strategy Research: identify goals & issues User needs Organizational/context Content and other issues Strategy: build and sell the plan Context ContentUsers Business goals, funding, politics, culture, technology, human resources Data types, content objects, metadata, volume, existing structure Audience, tasks, user behavior, experience, vocabulary MR, p. 233

13 iSchool Research and Strategy Methods User and requirements analysis (inc., e.g., interviews, competitive analysis) Content analysis Role of user studies (e.g., surveys, user testing, card sorting) From research to strategy Relationship to documentation

14 iSchool Design and Documentation Deliverables Conceptual Diagrams Blueprints (structural) Wireframes (physical) Text (e.g., reports) Presentations and meetings

15 iSchool Metadata Literally “data about data” “a set of data that describes and gives information about other data” ― Oxford English Dictionary Why do we need this? Types of metadata Descriptive/subjective/content (e.g. author, subject, keywords, …) Administrative (e.g. owner, rights, cost, creation date, version, …) Technical (e.g. format, size, dependencies, programs).... In practical terms: Metadata helps users locate, navigate, interpret content Metadata helps organizations manage content Metadata helps systems manipulate content

16 iSchool Related Concepts & Uses Taxonomies Anything organized in some sort of hierarchical structure Tagging Adding almost any kind of metadata to content, but now often descriptive and user-provided Thesauri Focus on relations between terms Focus on “concepts” Ontologies Usually model a specific domain or part of the world Generally machine-readable Increasing complexity and richness

17 iSchool IA in the “Real World” What’s the same? Mostly concepts and techniques What is different? Organizational issues (esp., but not limited, to politics) Money (sometimes it’s there, sometimes not) Timelines and time pressures Diversity of backgrounds, views, ages, etc. (with respect to technology) Scale and stakes (e.g. billions of users, up to $1bs) More emphasis on getting it done, often less on novelty/leading edge

18 iSchool Goals for Search Sessions Understand the basic issues in information retrieval (searching primarily unstructured text) (e.g. words vs. concepts, word problems, recall and precision) Know the techniques generally used by modern search engines (vector space model, term weighting) Learn how search engines can be used most effectively in information architecture (e.g. configuring search, integrating search and browsing, tricks like “best bets”)

19 iSchool What we control (the IA part)? Requirements and search engine selection Developing search requirements Build vs. buy Vendor evaluation/selection Consultants? Content selection What to search/zones/etc. Tags Search engine configuration Zones, what gets indexed, sometimes how Number of results, sometimes recall vs. precision Others (very often interface-related) Interfaces

20 iSchool Ground rules for exam What can be on it Anything that’s “really” covered, not passing mention Focus on concepts, but can include definitions, examples Style of exam As objective as possible Mostly multiple choice, some matches, short answers Designed to fit in < 1.5 hours Degree of difficulty and grading Prepare, but try to make the most of it and enjoy!

21 iSchool Examples (from last years) X. In general, well-designed navigation systems a. do not use hypertext because users can get confused and “lost in hyperspace” b. give at least “7 plus or minus 2” choices at each level c. include different navigational features depending on the type of page being viewed d. use labels that are different from page headers to “mix it up” and make a site more visually interesting Y. When considering the depth and breadth of a hierarchy, a. the tradeoff depends on screen “real estate” as well as users’ ability to grasp information b. it is important to have the same number of links on every page, within one or two c. “shallow but wide” organization is usually more effective because it prevents users from getting lost in the depths of a site d. depth doesn’t really matter so long as you have a “back” button and a breadcrumb to help users find their way around

22 iSchool Examples (from last years) Z. An important role of content analysis in the research process is a. to apply a “Noah’s ark” approach to closed-end cart sorting b. to validate and extend a site’s top-down organization c. to make sure all available content is included on the final web site d. to choose the right search engine

23 iSchool For each of the following examples covered in class, give a word or phrase from the left column of the above table (or the number of the phrase) that best fits what was illustrated by the example (in some examples there may be more than one correct answer). Give a very short (one sentence or less) explanation. 36. HP’s web site uses “best bets” to direct searchers to certain pages, such as how to select a printer for purchase. 37. The National Library of Medicine’s Unified Medical Language System (UMLS) retrieves information about “neoplasms” in response to a search for “cancer” 38. The Best Buy site allows you to select a set of laptop computers by choosing links showing manufacturer or price range 39. In redesigning their web site, E-Bay identified five important task groups and then used a closed end card sort to validate their task groupings 40. The iSchool web site gives links to various student projects and publications under the “Research” tab 31. Taxonomya. Organizing information according to concepts in a “tree” from the general to the specific 32. “Subjective” Organization b. Organizing information by starting with an expectation of what’s important or needed 33. Polyhierarchyc. A network of terminology and/or concepts that captures associations and relationships among words, phrases, or ideas 34. Thesaurusd. An organizational scheme in which each concept can belong to multiple categories 35. Top-down analysise. An “ambiguous” organization system in which concepts are categorized, for example, by task, topic, or metaphor

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